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Sumer, located in southern Mesopotamia, was one of the earliest known civilizations in the world. It lasted from the first settlement of Eridu in the Ubaid period (late 6th millennium BC) through the Uruk period (4th millennium BC) and the Dynastic periods (3rd millennium BC) until the rise of Babylon in the early 2nd millennium BC.

Although other cities pre-date Sumer (Jericho, Çatalhöyük and others, either for seasonal protection, or as year-round trading posts) the cities of Sumer were the first to practice intensive, year-round agriculture (from c. 5300 BC). The surplus of storable foodstuffs created by this economy allowed the population to settle in one place instead of migrating after crops and herds. It also allowed for a much greater population density, and in turn required an extensive labor force and division of labor. This organization led to the necessity of record keeping and the development of writing (c. 3500 BC).

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Achaemenid Empire at the end of Artaxerxes III's reign.
Artaxerxes III Ochus (Old Persian: Artaxšaçrā, reigned 358 – 338 BC) was the eleventh king of the Achaemenid Dynasty and the first Pharaoh of the 31st dynasty of Egypt. Before ascending the throne he was a satrap and commander of his father Artaxerxes II's army. Artaxerxes III came to power after one of his brothers was executed, another committed suicide, the last brother was murdered and his father died at the age of 90. Soon after becoming king, Artaxerxes murdered all the royal family to secure his place on the throne.

After ascending the throne, he started two major campaigns against Egypt. The first campaign failed, and was followed by rebellions throughout the western empire. However, in 343 BC, he defeated Nectanebo II, the Pharaoh of Egypt, driving him from the country, and stopping a revolt in Phoenicia on the way. Later, he countered Philip II of Macedon who was gaining power in Greece.

In his later life, he renewed building activity at Persepolis, erecting a new palace and building his tomb. It is generally assumed he was poisoned by his minister Bagoas, but a cuneiform tablet (now in the British Museum) suggests he died of natural causes.

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Adapana Palace
Credit: Pentocelo
Adapana Palace
Built by Darius I, Persepolis, 522 – 486 BC

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Nabonidus Cylinder
...that the Hurrian language and the Urartian language are proposed to be distantly related to the modern Armenian language?

...that the Aramaic language, the lingua franca of the ancient Near East in Biblical times is still spoken as a first language today?

...that the syllabic cuneiform script was adapted to create a phonetic alphabet twice, for the Ugaritic language and for the Old Persian language?

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